With the advent of 2016, people around the world had set themselves New Year's resolutions. But 88 per cent of all those set resolutions fail, leaving most people feeling a bit disappointed in themselves. There are certain neurological reasons why we tend not to keep our New Year's resolutions, but in the digital world we live in there are certain tech solutions that can help us power through.
Train your brain
Neurologically, we need willpower to help us stick to our New Year's resolutions. We also need them to become habits rather than abstract thoughts and we need to hold ourselves accountable. Luckily, technology makes each of these steps easy to achieve.
Apps like "Mind: Brain Train" in the Windows Store stimulate your brain, helping to improve short-term memory, which is linked to willpower. There are also several goal-setting apps like "GoalsOnTrack", which help you to set realistic goals, and "21habits", which hold you accountable by requiring you to make a payment upfront and then refunding you for each day you have succeeded in sticking to your goal.
Stay fit and healthy
The most popular New Year's resolution according to Nielsen, a consumer research firm, is to get and stay fit and healthy. The Microsoft Band makes this a whole lot easier. This wearable device tracks your heart rate, calories, sleep quality and physical activities. It's also compatible with various health apps like "Livifi", which lets you choose from 40 lifestyle goals and help you set achievable targets.
Unsurprisingly, losing weight is another popular resolution. "Weight Loss Manager", available in the Windows Store, is a great app to help you do just that. Enter your weight checks and activities every day and get tips for getting healthy and fit. You can also see your progress and see which exercise burns the most calories.
Spend less, save more
Even if this isn't your New Year's resolution, it's probably in the back of your mind. While the growth of online shopping could burn a hole in your pocket, it's also a convenient way to hunt for bargains. Don't rush into the first store you see, rather use your smart phone to shop around and find the best deal.
Spend more time with friends and family
We live in a world where most of us have friends and family living overseas or out of town. Thanks to technology, that's no reason to lose touch. Microsoft's "Skype" app works across all devices, running silently in the background, ready to notify you when a call or instant message comes in. Don't miss out on those special moments just because you're far away.
When life gets busy, it can be difficult to stay organised and remember all our commitments. That's where an app like "Todoist" comes in handy. It's a simple way of pushing notifications to your desktop for reminders, and allows you to clear a completed task easily (nothing's more satisfying than ticking something off that to-do list).
Learn something new
Nothing like a new year to inspire a burst of creativity. To keep the creative juices flowing, why not try apps like "Fresh Paint" to experience the joy of slapping paint on canvas, or "Music Maker Jam" to try your hand at blending your own music mixes? And, for the budding photographers out there, the Lumia's 20-megapixel camera is a great tool with its features like triple LED natural flash and Rich Capture.
We might live in a global village, but travelling still tops many bucket lists. The travel industry has been revolutionised thanks to technology, putting the power into your hands. Apps like "TripAdvisor" and "EatOut Restaurant Guide 2015" help you find and book the perfect hotel or restaurant to fit your budget, based on other patrons' reviews.
Once you've travelled the world, got fit and healthy and learned something new, it's time to get back to basics. Reading is a great resolution to help you destress and gain more knowledge at the same time. Use "Goodreads" to find the perfect book, discuss and analyse your book on "Readmill" and learn to speed read using "Syllable".
There are just days left until we embark on the New Year. Don't be put off making those resolutions - use technology to help you have a successful, fulfilling 2016.
By Mohammed Arif
The writer is Windows Business Group Lead at Microsoft Gulf. Views expressed are his own and do not reflect the newspaper's policy.
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